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Experience Design: Linonophobia

So the first project of 3rd year is over – that was quick! I’ve posted about my trip to the London museums for research and the talk about magic & tricks of the brain from Stuart Nolan, but I haven’t really talked about the brief yet.

The brief asked us to choose an object from an existing museum and improve the experience; thinking about the audience, use of technology, innovative ideas and the design(graphic bits).

When I visited the Science Museum in London I was interested in the Who Am I? exhibition. The exhibition consisted of several glass display cabinets containing objects, as well as some touch screen computers with questionnaires and other interactive applications.

I was interested in this cabinet:

What are you afraid of?

It contains lots of jars with items to represent fears and phobias, ranging from the common fear of spiders to the more unusual fear of chopsticks. I chose to take the phobia of string, also known as Linonophobia, to create my experience with. I decided to keep the same audience as the original exhibition (8 -16 years) and create an experience to help the children understand the phobia and hopefully teach them not to be scared later in life.

To the average person, string is not a scary object and many would laugh and say ‘Why would you be scared of string?’. Linonophobics are scared of string because it can trap and restrict you, leaving you without an escape. It causes confusion and panic, so I decided a maze situation would help to create the experience and emotions that linonophobics suffer when in contact with string.

So that’s the basis of the idea. I’ve produced a model to show the layout and scale, and I’ve been taking photos throughout making it too:

Perspex for the base of the walls…

… wrapped in string. Different variations of thickness and density to create interesting shadows and distort vision. View from the exit:

…and view from the entrance. I decided to have the name of the phobia as the first thing you would see when you entered the room. I cut these letters from foam board and wrapped them in string but decided I didn’t like it in the end. View from above:

No time for tidying up – I made an ‘organised mess’ applying my optical illusion style stripes – because fears are illusions of the mind!

Things are starting to look a bit more interesting now…

Type on acetate!

Adding the interactive activities on the outside walls…

… and the type to the maze walls and floor.

And finally, doing the beauty shots!

So what does it look like now? Here’s some close ups of the details:

First impressions.

Interactive typography projection.

Interactive string pegboard.

Break the string for the emergency scissors!

Twang – o – meter!

Complete the tasks, scan the triangles to collect points and gain a certificate at the end of the exhibition.

Imagine a world without string: no kites, slip on shoes and no stringed musical instruments.

Escape the maze through the stretchy, elasticated wall.

My crit went quite well; my tutor Isil said that she thinks it’s an interesting concept and she would like to go and visit my experience. Just a few tweaks with my portfolio and finito!

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how my experience turned out considering I was completely clueless at the beginning of the project. We get a new project tomorrow…. magazine design! I’m pretty sure there’s going to be some kind of twist, so it’ll be interesting. After this project, I’m ready for (almost) anything – bring it on!

One comment

  • girlindesign

    22/10/2012 at 4:05 pm

    Great idea and great model! Wish my modeling skills were so good 🙂 and it never fails to amaze me what strange things people can have fobias of.

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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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